Thursday, 28 October 2010

Recipe: superfood scrambled egg

This is my post-pilates treat at posh fast food outlet Pod, and something I've been meaning to cook at home for ages. It's a really filling, but low-fat breakfast, and the chilli kick helps to get the metabolism going first thing.

It also makes a great brunch dish if you don't have time to make it during the week. That said - it's a piece of cake. Preparation and cooking time is no more than 12 minutes, max.

Ingredients (serves 2)

4 to 6 eggs, depending on appetite
Salt and pepper
Two handfuls of spinach
1 fresh chilli
125g feta cheese
2 medium tomatoes
2 tbsn mixed seeds
2 slices of sourdough bread
Large knob of butter (optional)

Break the eggs into a bowl and break up with a fork. Season with salt and pepper. Wilt spinach in a saucepan with a few tablespoons of water. After a few minutes, once softened, drain and set aside. Slice the chilli, cube the feta and chop the tomatoes into 2cm chunks.

Place a few more tablespoons of water in the pan and soften the tomatoes for a few minutes. Remove and keep to one side.

Discard the water and melt half the butter in the pan if using (if not, can use oil or no fat in a good non-stick pan), and add the eggs (you can add milk or cream to the eggs if you prefer).

Keep the eggs moving with a flat wooden spatula. Once the eggs begin to solidify, put the bread on to toast, then add the tomatoes, chilli and spinach to the eggs and stir the vegetables through evenly.

Add the feta just before you remove the eggs from the heat. Transfer to two plates and sprinkle with the seeds. Serve with buttered toast.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Best breakfasts: Jamie Oliver's Fifteen London

Jamie's pukkola, or bircher muesli, is one of my favourite breakfast recipes, so you can only imagine my excitement at finally tasting the original.

Fifteen serves it up from 7.30am (8am on Sundays) alongside a mouth-watering selection of breakfast goodies. This is a restaurant that has mastered the art of seductive menu-writing - and drawing, for that matter. The Trattoria menu is scrawled with cute sketches and fonts, making going out for breakfast the fun outing it should be.

The bright modern art, good-looking young staff and clattery furniture also add to the atmosphere.

The smoothies got top marks - apple, banana, pear and ginger with toasted oats (£3 small, £5 large) was just thick enough with a good quick of ginger - I find that Jamie's recipes don't hold back on spices like ginger and chilli, so you really get the flavour you want.

The pukkola (£6) was delicious - a little runnier than mine and better for it. It was topped with chopped plums and apples (very seasonal) and drizzled with honey. The nuts added a wonderful flavour and texture contrast to the smooth oats.

The eggs with roasted field mushrooms (£7.25) and added bacon also scored highly - eggs with rich, dark yolks poached just right and chunky bacon that wasn't too salty.

My scrambled eggs were less good - I thought the consistency was too smooth, leaving the taste a little bland and the texture too thin. It was a shame, as the toasted home-made oven-bottom muffin was delicious and thin enough to wrap round the peppery Cumberland sausages for a really satisfying breakfast bap (£5.40 for two fillings).

The prices are a pound or two over what I'd like to pay, but you do get good quality - there's luscious-sounding provenance all over the menu, including Isle of Wight tomato juice and Tea Pigs teas.

There's also the fact that Fifteen helps young people from disadvantaged backgrounds get a foothold in the food industry, and that profits go to the Jamie Oliver Foundation. Which I guess makes paying that extra few pounds all the more worthwhile - well, that and the killer pukkola.

Fifteen London, 15 Westland Place, N1 7LP

Friday, 15 October 2010

Friday, 8 October 2010

The best porridge toppings and a chance to win porridge

In honour of World Porridge Day 2010 on Sunday, and the oat-tastic gastronomic contest that is the Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Championships, we bring you Muesli Lover's favourite porridge toppings, plus a few suggestions from the porridge glitterati.

Win four boxes of tasty porridge: We'd love to hear your favourite toppings - just add them using the comment form below... The best one will be picked by a team of judges at Rude Health, and will win a box of each of their tasty porridge range, pictured below.

Get your favourite topping to us before October 24 for a chance to win oats! Full competition details here.

Warm berry compote, walnuts and honey, at Mountain Cafe, Aviemore

Tea poached prunes and juice, at the Crosby Street Hotel, New York

Just grapes, at the Hotel du Vin, Winchester

Bill Granger's baked porridge with cinnamon and figs

A 2009 Golden Spurtle recipe, apple porridge

With California golden raisins, from Star Diner, New York

Good old banana, the porridge topping staple

Happy banana, at the Spread Eagle hotel in Sussex

And here's some favourites from Muesli Lover's breakfast-loving friends...

From the team at Rude Health

Maple syrup, cream (preferably Hurdlebrook unpasteurised guernsey) and sliced ripe banana on our Top Banana (above, from Camilla at Rude Health)

Rapadura sugar (made from cane juice so not heated/processed, tastes like caramel) and cream (as above) on Daily Oats porridge made with half milk, half water and a pinch of salt (from Camilla at Rude Health)

Toasted almonds and honey on plain porridge made with water, no salt (from Holly at Rude Health)

Tart berry compote (raspberries and blackberries are perfect for flavour and turning it pink) added while cooking for extra warmth and colour. Made with water, then a little rice milk once cooked. No salt, but sometimes a squeeze of lemon juice (Katie at Rude Health)

From Porridge Guy of the Porridge Lovers blog

Crushed Weet-Bix with New Zealand Rewarewa Honey

Home-made blue borage honey toasted muesli with dried pineapple, papayo and apricot with raisins and blanched peanuts sprinkled liberally on top of our freshly made porridge topped with some Rewarewa Honey and home-made sourced grapefruit and lemonade marmalade.

Yes, your eyes do not lie. Reduced salt baked beans on hot porridge. This is quintessential experimentation at its best, but I must admit it works.

To read Porridge Lovers' fabulous porridge toppings blog post in full, click here

From the Dorset Cereals HQ...

Banana, honey and pumpkin seeds

Our Chocolate and Macadamia Granola

Marmalade and sliced orange pieces (avoid all pith - a lot of effort, but worth it)

Golden Syrup and cream (a killer!)

Stewed apple mixed through, topped with raspberries and blueberries

Our Cranberry and Raspberry porridge with white chocolate stirred through (amazing)

Our Berries and Cherries muesli

From Porridge Lady, who has kindly supplied these recipes in full if you'd like to try cooking her entries to the Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Championship on behalf of Mornflake.

Thanks to all of you for your porridge favourites - now readers, let's hear yours! (use the comment form below)

Win the full Rude Health porridge range

Win four boxes of tasty porridge: We'd love to hear your favourite porridge toppings - just add them using the form on our porridge toppings article...

The best one will be picked by a team of judges at Rude Health, and will win a box of each of their tasty porridge range, pictured below.

Get your favourite topping to us before October 24 for a chance to win oats!
Terms and conditions

Each entrant can submit one entry, using the comment form at the bottom of the porridge toppings article.
Entries will be judged on originality and practicality.
Entries must be received by midnight on October 24.
There is one prize - four boxes of Rude Health porridge - Top Banana, Daily Oats, Morning Glory and Fruity Date.
Prizes are non-transferable and non-exchangeable and there are no cash or credit alternatives available.
In the event of circumstances outside its control, the promoter reserves the right to substitute an alternative prize of equal or greater value should the prize be unavailable for any reason
Deliveries in the UK only.
The judges, named above, will pick the winner. The judge's decision is final.

Best cafes: Caravan, Exmouth Market, London

I turned up at 10am on the dot at Caravan, and by 11am, I wasn't regretting the early alarm call - a sizeable crowd were salivating over menus while they waited for tables.

I'd read about the creamy soy mushrooms, so they were the order of the day, but choosing the rest of the brunch was tough - so two courses it was.

I had the avocado and chilli on toast (£4) - sensationally ripe and rich with the right level of piquantiness. The mushrooms (£2.50) came on the side and were sensational - creamy, with a good earthy flavour and a well-judged addition of pepper.

I followed it with the coconut bread, lemon curd cream cheese and strawberries (£7.50). The bread was more cakey - warm, with a crisp edge and moist interior. The cream cheese had the perfect lemony kick and you'd never have known we're at the fag ends of strawberry season.

My buddy had the muesli with pear and honey (£4.80) and the fry-up (£8). The former looked a little bland, but I was assured it was nutty and tasty. The latter was anything but bland - a stack of gorgeous, fresh succulent ingredients topped with the creamy soy mushrooms. Sensational.

With reasonable prices, a buzzy atmosphere and quirky dishes on the menu, Caravan is up there in my brunch favourites, with the likes of Bistrotheque in east London.

Caravan, 11-13 Exmouth Market, London, EC1R 4QD; tel. 020 7833 8115; open 8am-11.30pm Mon-Fri; 10am-4pm Sat & Sun

Guest recipe: 'Perry Champagne’ Porridge

Huge thanks to Porridge Lady for this wonderful recipe, an entry to the Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Championship on behalf of Mornflake.

I am very lucky in my home town of Reading, Berkshire to have one of the best Real Ale, Cider and Perry festivals in the county and a fantastic proper English orchard. This is really important to me as my family hails from Hereford and Worcester so apples and cider are part of our heritage.

Whilst I know a bit about ciders it was not until this summer that I learnt the delights of British perry. At this year's festival I got the opportunity to taste perry from the traditional growing areas in the Midlands alongside local produce. Refreshing, fizzy and fruity it got me thinking…..

Traditionally perry was kept for special occasions or visiting guests. Stored in bottles and left to ferment, perry took on a quality similar to champagne, so perfect for celebrations. However, the making and drinking of Perry declined over the years. It,s quiet an intensive process, and one that can’t be rushed. However, perry is now having a revival and you can join in this revelry! Invite your friends over for a weekend porridge breakfast and celebrate the best of traditional British apples and pears with a fizz.

I use fruit from my local orchard and in this recipe I like to use Packham's Triumph or Comice pears which are nice and sweet. Or I use Concorde pears which are good for cooking with. I like to use a nice firm apple like St Edmunds Russet or the balanced flavour of an Ellison’s Orange apple. You can replace these apples with your favourites. The key is to have an apple which is crisp and slightly acidic or tart to contrast against the sweetness and softness of the pear.

Serves four

Cooking and preparation time – 24 minutes


2 cups (270g) of Mornflake Medium Oatmeal
4 cups of water
Pinch of sea salt (1/4 teaspoon)
Bottle of British Perry; 300ml for cooking, remaining to serve.
2 British pears
2 Crisp British apples
Knob of butter
Sprinkle of cinnamon
Dessert spoon of caster sugar


Place boiling water into the base saucepan of a Porringer or Bain Marie.
In the top saucepan place the oatmeal and the cups of water and stir thoroughly.
Bring the water in the base saucepan back to the boil and then reduce the heat slightly, but keeping it high.
Stir in the salt.
Add the perry and stir thoroughly.
Continue to cook the oatmeal until it reaches a nice thick consistency, stirring regularly. This will take between approximately 10-15 minutes.
Whilst the oatmeal is cooking wash the apples and pears thoroughly.
Cut the fruit into generous slices.
Add the butter to a frying pan and heat until the butter starts to bubble.
To the hot butter add the pear slices and soften for 1-2 minutes.
Sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon over, ensuring a good coating on each pear slice.
Cook the pears for a further 1-2 minutes making sure to keep turning the slices.
Then transfer the pears from the frying pan onto a heat proof dish and place under a hot grill.
Grill the pears for 3 minutes or until they start to turn golden brown.
Now it’s the turn of the apples. Place them into the buttered frying pan and cook for 2 minutes. The apples just need to be lightly browned whilst keeping them firm and crispy.
Once the fruit is browned set aside.
When the oatmeal has cooked into a nice thick porridge consistency remove from the heat.
Leave to stand for 1-2 minutes.
Spoon the porridge into bowls.
Divide the fruit slices between the four bowls.
Keeping the porridge hot, take the bowls to your guests.
In front of them pour the remaining Perry over the bowls of Porridge. If you have managed to keep everything hot, the perry will bubble over the porridge and release its delicious aroma.
Revel with your friends but remember to enjoy perry porridge responsibly!

Mornflake Medium Oatmeal is available at Morrisons priced around 65p for 500g.

Photo from sutonhoo

Guest recipe: Kedgeree porridge

Huge thanks to Porridge Lady for this wonderful recipe, an entry to the Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Championship on behalf of Mornflake.

Porridge is most often served as a sweet breakfast dish. However, Scottish cuisine has a long tradition of using oatmeal for savoury dishes. ‘Brose’ or ‘purry’ porridge uses fish and seasonal greens to make a hearty, full meal from porridge.

For this recipe I have taken the traditional breakfast fish dish, Kedgeree, and combined it with a brose style of porridge. This type of porridge dish is much drier and comes from the time when shepherds would take oatmeal and water into the fields making an uncooked porridge. Whilst you certainly cook the oatmeal in this dish I have reduced the amount of water you put in to make a drier, heartier breakfast porridge.

Serves Two

Cooking and preparation time – 15-20 minutes


1 cup (135g) of Mornflake Medium Oatmeal
2 cups of water
Pinch of sea salt (1/4 teaspoon)
½ cup of semi skimmed milk
Piece of cinnamon bark
Seeds from one cardamom pod
1 bay leaf
Freshly ground black pepper
2 large organic or free range eggs
200g un-dyed smoked haddock
1 lemon


Place boiling water into the base saucepan of a Porringer or Bain Marie.
In the top saucepan place the oatmeal and the water and stir thoroughly.
Bring the water in the base saucepan back to the boil and then reduce the heat slightly, but keeping it high.
Add and stir in the salt.
Cook for 7 minutes stirring regularly.
Place the cinnamon bark, cardamom seeds and bay leaf into a square of muslin. Wrap well, tie up and place this into the oatmeal.
Sprinkle in the black pepper.
Then add the ½ cup of milk and stir in all the ingredients thoroughly.
Cook for a further 3 minutes.
Whilst the oatmeal is cooking put water into the base of a large, deep frying pan.
Heat the water until it starts to steam, but not boil.
Place the haddock into the frying pan and poach for 3-4 minutes.
Remove the haddock from the pan and set aside.
In a bowl whisk the two eggs.
Slowly pour the two eggs into the cooking oatmeal. Stir continuously whilst you are pouring the eggs in as this will give you visible flecks of egg.
Continue to cook the oatmeal for a further 3 minutes or until it is nice and thick. The oatmeal should look fairly dry, to give you more of a browse than a Porridge.
Remove oatmeal from the heat and set aside for 1-2 minutes, removing the muslin wrap.
Wash the lemon and cut into wedges.
Flake the haddock.
Spoon the oatmeal into bowls.
Dress with haddock and garnish with lemon wedges.
Serve the Porridge hot and enjoy.

Mornflake Medium Oatmeal is available at Morrisons priced around 65p for 500g.

Guest recipe: Marmelo Marmalade porridge

Huge thanks to Porridge Lady for this wonderful recipe, an entry to the Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Championship on behalf of Mornflake.

I absolutely love marmalade, a favourite since childhood when I was transfixed with stories of Paddington Bear and his famous marmalade sandwiches. I also know that I’m not alone, since finding out about the Marmalade Festival held every year in Cumbria.

Whilst I’ve always loved marmalade, I’ve always eaten porridge for breakfast. Since it’s a traditional on-toast breakfast favourite I’ve always felt like I miss out on optimum marmalade eating opportunities. That is until recently when I had eureka moment, to put it on my porridge.

The recipe is named ‘Marmelo Marmalade’ as a nod to the origins of marmalade. Dating back to the Middle Ages the dish of marmalade was originally made from imported Portuguese Quinces or ‘marmelo’, hence the name. However as time passed and import duties rose marmalade became made from Seville oranges which were cheaper to import.

In keeping with the historic marmalade whilst keeping to a classic flavour, I use an English quince and Seville orange marmalade for the recipe. I think marmalade porridge works well, two breakfast classics together, and I hope you do too. In the style of marmalade this porridge has a slight bitter flavour. However if you prefer yours a bit sweeter I recommend drizzling a nice big spoonful of golden syrup over your porridge.

Serves Two

Cooking and preparation time – less than 10 minutes


1 cup (85g) of Mornflake Superfast Oats
2 cups of water
2 generous tablespoons of marmalade*
Orange and Lemon zest**
Optional – tablespoon of golden syrup

* You can use another type of marmalade; just make sure it’s full of fruit for lots of flavour.
** Use unwaxed oranges and lemons and preferably organic. As you are eating the peel of the fruit it is important to know that it has not been treated with pesticides.


Place boiling water into a saucepan.
Then add the Mornflake Superfast Oats and the cups of water and stir thoroughly.
Bring the water saucepan back to the boil and then reduce the heat slightly, but keeping it high.
Continue to stir regularly for 3 – 4 minutes, cooking to a nice thick consistency.
Wash the orange and lemon thoroughly.
With a fine grater or zester take the zest from the orange and lemon being careful not to remove the pith.
Set this aside.
Continue to cook the oats until it reaches a nice thick consistency.
Once the oats are cooked remove from the heat and set aside for 1-2 minutes, for a porridge with a nice creamy consistency.
Spoon the porridge into bowls.
Into each bowl swirl a generous table spoonful of marmalade.
Sprinkle a little orange and lemon zest over the top.
Pour a spoonful of golden syrup over the top if you like a bit more sweetness.
Serve and eat the porridge hot.

Mornflake Superfast Oats are available in Tesco, ASDA, Co-op priced at around £1.40 for 2kg with 500g bags at Morrison, Booths, Co-op and Ocado at around 58p.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Recipe: Bill Granger's baked porridge

When it comes to ketchup, there's something satisfying about waiting for that blob of sauce to spew out of a glass bottle. Porridge is just the same (well, kinda...).

Rather like squeezy bottles for a quick squirt of ketchup, there's instant porridge that will give you a steaming bowl of sloppy oats in a few minutes, only, it's not quite the same as the bowl you have to wait for.

Bill Granger's porridge will keep you waiting an hour... but oh, it's worth it.

This recipe comes from Bill's new book, Bill's Basics, which is a big hit with Muesli Lover because it has a whole chapter on breakfast. This one struck me because a) it's porridge season, and b) it includes figs and cinnamon - two of my favourite breakfast flavours.

The result is delicious, with just the right level of stodginess, so it's filling, but not bulking. The oats are perfectly softened and there's sweetness from the fruit and the sugar, plus the indulgent addition of cream. The spice adds wintery comfort and even on day two, it still tasted great - warmed in the oven for 10 minutes with a fresh dash of milk.

Ingredients (for six servings)

135g porridge oats
75g of skinned hazelnuts, roughly chopped
75g of sultanas or roughly chopped dried figs.
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp soft brown sugar
650ml milk
200ml double cream


Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C (or I used the bottom shelf of the Aga roasting oven with a cool shelf over the dish).

Scatter the oats, nuts and dried fruit in an oven-proof dish, then sprinkle over the vanilla, cinnamon, a pinch of sea salt and 1 tbsp of the sugar. Mix, then top with the cream and the milk. Bake for 45 minutes (if cooking in the Aga, alternate cool shelves half way).

Sprinkle over the remaining sugar and more milk if it's dried out, then bake for another 15 minutes.

Bill suggests serving with stewed fruit, but I found a dash of cold milk was a worthy accompaniment.

Porridge recipes and where to eat good porridge 

Friday, 1 October 2010

The eco milk pouch

Discovering the Daylesford Organic milk cartons on the shelf in my local deli, I was reminded of that iconic breakfast TV clip when someone from the milk board attempts to open a new fangled carton design... and spills it all over the table.

It just looked too clever to be practical, but I was proved wrong.

The Daylesford design is plastic-free. It is biodegradable and made from calcium carbonate, which means it breaks down to nothing more nasty than water, carbon dioxide and chalk. The pack also folds flat in recycling bins and landfill, taking up less room, and looks rather snazzy in your fridge door.

The stuff inside isn't bad either - the milk comes from the Dayelsford herd of British Friesians who live on the company's farm in Gloucestershire. They are milked twice a day, I'm told, and the milk is packaged in the farm creamery.

It's an award-winning design - and it certainly gets my vote.